From – Daily Telegraph :
David Cameron defends Second World War RAF ‘heroes’ of Dresden raid
Prime Minister praises bomber pilots who ‘saved Britain from fascism’, amid ongoing debate over devastating RAF raid on Dresden
David Cameron has praised the pilots who bombed Dresden as British “heroes” after the Archbishop of Canterbury issued an apology for the attack.
The Prime Minister said the country’s pilots had saved Britain from fascism and Adolf Hitler during the Second World War and deserved to be lauded.
Mr Cameron also said he thinks of Bomber Command every time he goes jogging in St James Park, where a statue commemorates their bravery during the war.
It comes after Most Rev Justin Welby expressed his “profound feeling of regret and deep sorrow” over the bombings at a 70th anniversary service this month.
The comments sparked criticism from Tory MPs who called the remarks “bizarre” and “an insult” to the young men who risked their lives.
“On the issue of the work of Bomber Command in the Second World War, I think that Bomber Command played an absolutely vital role in our war effort,” Mr Cameron said in a question and answer session at the Port of Felixstowe.
“One of the things I was very proud to do as Prime Minister was to make sure the people who served in Bomber Command got proper recognition with a new clasp on their medals.
“And it was a great honour to hand out some of those medals to people who have waited for many, many years for the recognition I think they deserve.
“I’m very lucky to occasionally get to jog around St James Park in London and I always stop and look up at the Bomber Command memorial that has been so recently built and dedicated and stop and think about those very brave people who took enormous risks with incredible loss of life on our behalf to save Europe, to save Britain from fascism, from Hitler.
The Bomber Command monument in Green Park (ALAMY)
“To me the people who served in bomber command are heroes of our country and they played a very important role in the Second World War.”
Up to 25,000 civilians were killed in a vast firestorm with hurricane-strength winds during the raid of 13-15 February 1945. Critics have said the raid, the most controversial British action of the war, was needless, given the closeness of victory. Defenders of the raid point to the large number of German armament factories in the city.
The comments contrasted with the tone taken by Archbishop Welby at a service to remember the bombings earlier this month.
“Much debate surrounds this most controversial raid of the allied bombing campaign. Whatever the arguments, events here 70 years ago left a deep wound and diminished all our humanity. So as a follower of Jesus I stand here among you with a profound feeling of regret and deep sorrow,” he said.
Tory MP Philip Davies criticised the comments, saying: “These remarks do sound to me like an apology. For the Archbishop to make an apology for our defeat of Hitler is bizarre. I would have thought the last thing we should be doing is apologising. We should be praised for defeating Hitler. These words are an insult to the young men who gave their lives in the defeat of Germany.”